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Friends - 'quality over quantity' or 'you can never have too many'?

(19 Posts)
NewbieElizabeth Sun 01-May-16 08:06:19

A friend and I have bee having this chat, interested in what others think

She is in the quality over quantity camp, in fact, she actively keeps her friendship numbers down, and has no interest when people try to create a new friendship with her. I'm a bit more 'the more the merrier' with friends. I had a few years where I only had 1 or 2 people I could call friends, and I was very lonely. I didn't like how it felt to have so few people to socialise with or share news with so am quite happy to meet new people.

I suppose somewhere in the middle is ideal.

So what do you think? Is there such a thing as too many friends? Would you ever cut someone out, and what would they have to do for that to happen?

It's a very interesting thought to me, thanks for reading smile

Joysmum Sun 01-May-16 08:13:47

If it's quantity over quality then chances are you're spending time with people bit now t actually sharing thoughts and feelings with them.

That actually make them nothing more than amusing acquaintances.

Then you have friend and close friends.

I have very few close friends and friends and many more acquaintances I can spend time with should I want to.

ErgonomicallyUnsound Sun 01-May-16 08:18:33

I like the idea of having lots of friends - but realise the older I get that there aren't that many people I really connect with.

I think it's great to have lots of people you know that you rub along with that you can invite to stuff, meet up with in groups for coffee etc, but that there are in reality only 6-7 people I trust, really value, want to spend lots of 1:1 time with.
I've older friends I've known for years and they aren't necessarily the ones I'm closest with - but we have shared history that binds us. I'm sad if I lose one of those friends - this has happened before. I was cut out because my lifestyle didn't suit her friendship needs. I saw it as a terrible waste of years of friendship. Those old friendships should evolve over time to suit differing lifestyles and needs - with flexibility being key. When I had DC I made friends with a bunch of people I just so happened to have sex at the same time as - and after a while realised I didn't have to be friends with them all or indeed just with the ones who had kids the same sex/age.
So now I have an eclectic diverse range of local, non local, old, new friends - but the key for me is spending time with people whose company I enjoy and who make me feel good.

NewbieElizabeth Fri 06-May-16 10:01:07

Interesting to see the differentiation between acquaintances and friends, makes sense

I feel the same way when I lose a friend, like all those years were for nothing, but I try to remember we learnt from each other and had some good times

I guess if spending time together makes people feel good, there is no need to label it, just enjoy it!

Hero1callylost Fri 06-May-16 10:05:59

I think there's probably an introvert / extrovert divide. If you thrive on interaction you'll probably welcome anyone into your life whatever the degree (best friends or acquaintance).

If social interaction drains you, you probably won't want loads of people around, so might focus on having a few close friends.

I'm the latter!

BevyofQuails Fri 06-May-16 10:14:38

I was talking to DH the other day about how, although I honestly believe most people are good and lovely, I just don't like very many of them grin. I'm very fussy, there are very few people I actively enjoy spending time with and would miss if I didn't see them (DH being one of them, of course - he said he was flattered...)

So, I'm definitely not a misanthrope, but I'd go with quality over quantity every time.

I've cut friends out before. It was a group I realised I had nothing in common with, and I wasn't enjoying the time I spent with them. I tried to drift off naturally, but did it clumsily. One of them got offended and an apology was demanded (through a mutual friend). I wasn't interested in getting into any of that drama so I shrugged and left them to it

misszp Fri 06-May-16 10:25:49

I have a solid group of close friends who I have known since school and I class them as my 'quality' friends due to our history, our trust and our support of each other. I don't think much will impact that - we always say we will grow old together! They are very much constants in my life and always will be.

However, unlike half of that group, I am quite a social person, and I tend to have a few other sub groups, including work colleagues, whom I spend time with. We get on well, I trust them, they are good people, we support each other, but they are people who perhaps eventually I would lose touch with should jobs, hobbies life, location etc change, if that makes sense.

Funnily enough the other more extrovert, social characters of the solid friendship group also have additional friendship groups through work/hobbies etc.

I definitely am happy to have several friendship groups, but I try keep my numbers of 'acquaintances' to a minimum. I wouldn't spend my time with just anyone for the sake of it. I guess a happy medium is ideal!

autumnleaves123 Fri 06-May-16 19:32:29

I think it all depends what suits you and the time of your life you're going through. When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I would open up to everybody who offered their friendship. I didn't have very high standards and my personal boundaries were quite poor. I allowed into my life a lot of people that now looking back, I shouldn't have allowed.

After having children, I realised I don't have lots of time or energy to be hanging out with a lot of people. There is not a lot I can give in terms of time, money, and energy levels so for me now it's better to have quality over quantity.

I'm not on social media so I cannot boast I have hundreds of friends, and honestly, I couldn't keep up with that either.

To me a friend is someone I can trust, someone who doesn't lie, who doesn't gossip behind my back, who keeps the interaction going and upbeat over the years. Someone who understands really where you are coming from, and doesn't make you feel bad. Maybe I've been unlucky, but I have met very few of those people, maybe I can count them with one hand only.

NewbieElizabeth Sun 08-May-16 06:57:44

Bevy I agree about the drama, I get fed up with grown women acting like that. The friend who I had this chat with has an acquaintance with whom she has an absolutely toxic relationship, I've never seen anything like it. I have never cut someone out, but watching them two I can see why someone would, it's exhausting!

Interesting to read about the different friendship groups. Part of what started the conversation was that I have one acquaintance who I go out with as a part of a group, and I know she would find it hard to mix with my close friends, simply because she is marmite and I think it would be awkward, I have a great time with her though, and we get on really well, but I definitely think there comes a point where close friends take priority (hen night/weddings/special events etc.) and this is when the amount of real friends is often quite small (for me anyway)

I had very few friends for a while and I think the worst part was feeling like I relied on their friendship in a way, and had no one else to socialise with, made me feel like I was the sad mate!

ForalltheSaints Sun 08-May-16 07:34:35

I am in the quality over quantity camp myself.

wallywobbles Sun 08-May-16 07:50:32

I think I have a core group. People I know will drop everything when the shit hits. Like family. And even these can change slightly over time but you pick up where you left off no matter how many years pass.

Then there are the friends you see now who may or may not last the distance. But they are in your current social circle.

This group may or may not contain members of your friendship groups from over the years. People you are pleased to see but who are not always in the same space as you at the moment.

Buddahbelly Sun 08-May-16 08:02:36

I had a large group of friends from school, we spent most of our early 20's together 1 of them was an extrovert and control freak, every night out was planned on her terms... it became grating and in the end I slipped away and stopped going out with them. I realised how very little I had in common with them other than we had been at school at the same time.

I had work friends, and college/uni friends, I'm down to 1 person that actually lives near to me (others have moved abroad), I do feel very lonely sometimes in that I can just call people to share news or whatever, but I never think, oh I wish id kept in touch with those friends from school just for the people to talk to... So I value quality of people over quantity.

I recently set up my own business and have started getting my name out and about, I've already met so many like minded people doing this and sometimes I wonder why i put up with that group of friends for so long, when there were actually people out in the world who I feel I connect more to. Its just about finding them and putting yourself out there!

Dellarobia Sun 08-May-16 08:04:07

I like having lots of friends! I had a joint birthday party a couple of years ago and my guest list was a lot longer than those I was sharing the party with (sorry, not meaning to boast, just trying to give a measure of the concept of 'lots of friends'). Obviously some are closer friends than others. I'd say I'm open to new friends, but not particularly seeking them.

ErgonomicallyUnsound Sun 08-May-16 08:41:40

Proper friends won't make you feel shit for having "less" friends than them.

I was talking about what makes a good friend with a group of friends yesterday and said that a good litmus test for me of whether someone was a good friend is if they are genuinely pleased for you if you share a significant achievement of your child ( especially if they have kids of similar age). The number of people that have surprised me in this way, both good (genuinely pleased) and bad (jealous and grunting) has been a real eye opener.

Helmetbymidnight Sun 08-May-16 08:46:42

I don't really have a 'group'- I have lots of individual friends who I prefer to see one to one. That makes me happy.

Unicow Sun 08-May-16 09:11:55

I would say I only have a handful of friends but a lot of friendly acquaintances. I have about 5 people I could call in a crisis, would trust to look after my kids and who I would be comfortable with at my worst. I then know a lot of people I am happy to socialise with but on a much more casual and random basis.

NewbieElizabeth Sun 08-May-16 14:04:02

BuddhaBelly that's a good point, I often used to think 'if only I had stayed in touch with those people, been more accepting, I'd have someone to talk to' but in some cases those people were not people I wanted to be around and the effect of staying in touch would have been negative. For example, one of my school friends was an absolute liar, and invented accidents/made up stories and was such hard work, we gradually grew apart and I sometimes wished I'd put the effort in to keep in touch but later I realised it would have been a bad idea to maintain that friendship.

Ergonomically - I agree with that, people who are not pleased for others are rarely good friends. I've known people who I honestly think liked it when others fail/have a tough time and covered up this pleasure badly. The idea that someone is friends with someone else to feel better about themselves is awful but I think it happens, I think I've been the 'at least I'm not her!' friend actually!

NewbieElizabeth Sun 08-May-16 14:13:36

Dellarobia that's interesting, I remember at my 18th birthday party absolutely filling the room, I had lots of people there and it was great fun.

2 months later I got engaged, and I had 3 people to text to tell (before facebook days, which I think would have given me the chance to create the illusion of having more friends to tell) and it did feel strange.

My friend has had a few events where she has said she doesn't think she has enough people to invite, I think this thought often leads people to invite lots of acquaintances to things and sometimes it's maybe better to have a smaller event with very few close friends (not suggesting that was your situation at all! I just mean in my friends situation)

Roonerspism Sun 08-May-16 14:25:20

What a topical thread for me.

I was ruminating this morning that I have never "belonged" to a big group of friends, or at least not since school.

I have lovely friends that I enjoy meeting one on one. But it takes me ages to really click with someone. I'm quite envious of those who have large groups of friends but it's just not me.

Anyway, I guess that makes me a quality person. I'm also devastated when I lose a good friend. I wish I could shrug but I can't

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